Hallmark mainstay Lacey Chabert reunites with her Party of Five co-star Scott Wolf Nov. 18 in the channel’s A Very Scottish Christmas, a confection about a pair of once close siblings who reunite at their mom’s girlhood home in Scotland for the holiday.
Here, Chabert talks about working again with Wolf — who played her older brother Bailey in the Fox drama that ran from 1994 to 2000 — in her 38th (!!!) Hallmark movie, as well as what it meant to reunite with Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Seyfried in those excellent Walmart holiday commercials.
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DEADLINE Hallmark really got ahead of things in anticipation of the strike. When did you shoot A Very Merry Christmas?
LACEY CHABERT I shot Haul Out the Holly: Lit Up in April [for Hallmark] and then filmed A Merry Scottish Christmas in June.
How much time does it take to complete one of these movies?
CHABERT Every single Hallmark movie I’ve done, all 38 of them, have been in about 15 days. It really is incredible to shoot that much that quickly, but it’s a pace and a rhythm that we’ve all become so accustomed to and it’s really nice that I get to work with a lot of the same crews. I’ve worked with the same directors and producers repeatedly, so there’s a bit of a family feel.
Whose idea was it to get Scott Wolf?
CHABERT Scott and I just love each other so much, and since the moment we wrapped Party of Five 23 years ago, I have hoped that we’d have the chance to work together again. And while he’s been in my life as a brother forever — we’re very, very close — we hadn’t yet had that chance to work together on screen. So when he did a Hallmark Christmas movie a few years ago, everyone started asking, ‘are you guys going to do one together?’ We both said we would love this opportunity and Hallmark embraced the idea and found this beautiful story. They let us be involved in the development of the story and the characters because we wanted to make sure it felt right. I’m so excited to be talking about it today. I’ll never forget standing there on set before we shot our first scene. I got a little teary-eyed because I just couldn’t believe that I had this opportunity to play his sister again and to spend these three weeks with him and reminisce about our time together on Party of Five.
Were you clear to Hallmark that you had to be siblings and not lovers?
CHABERT A hundred percent. He and I both said that from the beginning, as did everyone else. It was never anyone’s idea for us to be love interests in the movie. No one wants to see that! We are forever brother and sister, and I was really happy that Hallmark was willing to embrace that being the core of the story. While there are romantic storylines in the film that are important and beautiful, having the brother sister relationship and the way they sort of find each other again as they get this news about their family in Scotland, was really important to us.
What were some of your memories of working with Scott on Party of Five? You were just a kid.
CHABERT I was 11. Can you believe that? I did it from age 11 to 17, and I was not much older than my daughter is now. I just remember the first time I met him. It was during the audition process and our very last read together. We all read together as a family, Neve and Matthew and Scott. It was at one of the offices at Fox and at the end of the audition they said, ‘should we tell them?’ We all looked around and they said, ‘you’re our Salingers.’ There was this immediate burst of laughter and tears and hugs. I didn’t really understand the scope of what it meant to be on a show, but I knew instantly that I was going to be a part of something very special, and that it was going to mean a lot to my life. I never knew it would turn into six years and 144 episodes. Who I am today as an adult is such a large part of the influence of all those wonderful people around me during that time.
Do you think a lot of your Hallmark fans were Party of Five fans?
CHABERT I find that a lot of the fans of the Hallmark movies were people who also watched Party of Five, so hopefully this is as much a treat for them as it was for us to film it. There are some Easter eggs to Party of Five in the movie, if you watch really carefully.
You have Haul Out the Holly coming out next weekend.
CHABERT It’s a very different movie than A Merry Scottish Christmas. A Merry Scottish Christmas is heartfelt and festive and is this beautiful story of a brother and sister finding each other once again. Haul Out the Holly is this big broad comedy, super joyful. And there’s a bit of a Party of Five reunion in there too. Jennifer Aspen, who was on four seasons of Party of Five [as Daphne Jablonsky] plays my sort of, what’s the word? I don’t want to say nemesis, more like fre-mesis in the movie. So it’s been a lovely year of reunions on all fronts.
What has the Hallmark career meant to you? What has it done for your life?
CHABERT I had no idea that it would turn into what it has become. I can’t even express my gratitude. I love these movies as a viewer. I love watching all of the other movies that Hallmark makes, and I feel so lucky that I get to be a part of something that just brings a little bit of joy into the world and that I get to tell stories that people can relate to and hopefully see themselves in. Those stories touch my heart so deeply, and I really don’t take it for granted for a second.
Time to talk about those Mean Girls inspired Walmart commercials!
CHABERT I had the best time reuniting with Amanda and Lindsay and stepping into those character shoes again for a minute. It was super joyful and it was a real full circle moment too. It’s been almost 20 years. We all have kids now. We were able to talk about our kids and spend the day reminiscing. It also felt like no time had passed. We did it in Los Angeles.
Were you worried it would hurt the legacy of the movie?
CHABERT Of course. Whenever you revisit something, you just want it to do the original project justice and leave it in a good light, always. But I think we were in excellent hands and it was such a blast to revisit the story and these characters. It was just a blast. I mean, we were just laughing all day on set and really excited to have the chance to revisit those characters. They’re rolling out the commercials through November. We had more of Gretchen’s [Chabert’s character from Mean Girls] story last week. And this past Wednesday was Lindsay’s character, and I think there will be another couple more.
Do you know why Rachel McAdams couldn’t do it?
CHABERT I actually don’t know. I love Rachel and we would’ve loved for her to have joined us, but I’m not exactly sure what happened.
Have you already booked your Hallmark projects for 2024?
CHABERT We’re busy at work making that happen. And I have another project which I can’t yet talk about at Hallmark, but it’ll expand upon the Hallmark brand in an exciting way.
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